For 2012 Raleigh have taken the hugely successful RSP carbon framesets of last year, tweaked the details, shaved a little weight and delivered two new SP bikes plus a brand new Pro level frame as used by Team Raleigh in this year’s Tour of Britain.
Raleigh SP Comp
Entry into the RSP – Raleigh Special Products - composite line up comes with the SP Comp. The frame follows the same lines as the more expensive Race, sharing all but the bottom bracket shell. The Comp uses a standard BSA with the Race getting an oversized BB30 type. Up front the head tube has a tapered design from 1-1/8in expanding to a 1-1/2in lower stack. The carbon fork has a little more rake than the Pro level frameset.
We rode both bikes back to back over a series of laps at Hog Hilll race circuit, with the SP Comp having a more stable almost relaxed handling compared to the razor sharp Team edition. The frame is also impressively smooth and we think it’d be a great mile eater perfect for sportive duties.
Component wise it’s a mix of Shimano 105 (shifters and mechs) with a non-series R600 compact chainset (50/34) combined with a 12-27 cassette - that makes for a very climb friendly combo. The finishing kit for 2012 is also upgraded over last year with a full complement of ITM for the bars, stem, and seat post. This is a collaboration stemming from Raleigh’s pro team, as is the colour coordinated San Marco Concor saddle. The wheels are a decent package too at this price being Shimano’s great budget RS10’s shod with Schwalbe Durano tyres.
This all adds up to a bike that weighs in at an impressive 8.4kg for the complete bike. At a price of £1450 and from our first riding impressions, we think Raleigh may well be onto a winner with the Comp.
Raleigh SP Race
The £1950 SP Race was a top five race bike in Cycling Plus’s 2011 Bike of the Year, and the upgrades for 2012 whilst still maintaining the price means they could be a front runner for 2012 too. With a frame that’s lost a few grams, increased in rigidity and gained a quality all carbon ITM Ursa fork it certainly looks very promising.
The BB30 bottom bracket has a standard 53/39 FSA Energy chain set fitted with the remainder of the drive train, shifters and brakes all coming from Shimano’s excellent Ultegra line. New Shimano RS30 wheels shod with Schwalbe Duranos complete the main constituents. ITM again provide the bar, stem and seat post and the same great San Marco saddle as the Comp.
With its standard gearing and lesser weight (8.1kg) the Race is aimed to do just that, go quickly and get their fast. Our first ride certainly bore this out with a snappier, sharper feel to the Comp, but still a very nice place to be comfort wise.
Raleigh SP Team
For 2012 the Pro level SP Team gains another model, aside from the Dura Ace equipped £3900 flagship we’ll also see an Ultegra equipped version for £2450 - that’s complete Ultegra even down to the wheel set. The full team model gets a full complement of Dura-Ace, RS Eighty wheels, and ITM carbon bars, stem and seat post. The San Marco Concor saddle is a specially produced for Raleigh team edition with full colour coordinated finish.
The real story of the Team though is the frameset. It’s totally new from the ground up. Up front the tapered 1-1/8in to 1-1/2in head tube holds a high modulus all carbon fork with a shorter offset and impressive rigidity. In the saddle this makes for an aggressive handling bike which feels nimble through the corners, responds instantly to input and feels impressively taught when honking on the bars out of the saddle. It’s response to pedal input is just as sharp as the front end too. On closer inspection that’s no surprise with the broadening seat tube meeting the oversized down tube culminating in a huge bottom bracket shell supported huge 2in deep chain stays.
Weight is kept down despite all this oversized design with some neat touches like the full carbon drop-outs and slim seat stays. The all up weight of our test ride was an impressive 7.1kg.
A first for Raleigh for 2012 is this new value priced women’s specific road bike. The £650 Aura features a butted aluminium frame and carbon fork. In comes in three sizes with a shorter top tube and taller head tube to suit female riders. The frame is also designed with ample clearance for full mudguards, making it a great option for commuting or winter riding duties. Gearing is handled with Shimano’s Sora, complete with a compact Sora chain set. A women’s specific San Marco Glamour saddle and compact drop RSP bars add to the women’s specific finish.
Weighing in at a touch over 10kg it’s no lightweight, but right on the button for the price.
Raleigh Airlite 300
For 2012 the entry level Airlite range has seen one huge update to the shared frame platform: a switch to fully butted frames, while retaining guard clearance and a full complement of eyelets. That means the budget Raleighs have seen a significant drop in weight (10kg complete bike) and also a claimed much improved ride.
The £850 Airlite 300 is specced with Shimano’s new and very promising Tiagra 10 speed, now very close to 105’s performance level. Raleigh’s own RSP component line of bar, stem, and seat post topped with a San Marco Spid saddle adds to a build and a Rigida Flyer/Formula wheel set shod with 25mm Schwalbe Lugano tyres completes what looks to be a competitively priced package.
Raleigh Airlite 400
The 400 has also been on a diet for 2012, losing the best part of half a kilo to tip the scales at 9.7kg. Aside from gaining the updated alloy frame the 400 also gains a 105 drive train, R600 shimano compact chain set and Shimano’s R500 wheel set and updated carbon fork. The remaining finishing kit is as with the 300, and with a price of £975 we’ll see a great package at a Cycle to Work scheme friendly price.
Uvex updates helmets and glasses for 2012
Winner of a design award at this year’s Eurobike show, Uvex's all-new SGL202 sunglasses have a lightweight minimal frame with highly flexible arms and grippy rubberised earpieces. The nose bridge is fully adjustable and the lens now features an updated version of the Variomatic UVEX lens, the light sensitive photochromatic change is now quicker than before and works just as fast in cold of hot temperatures (previous photochromatic lenses can be affected by extremes in temperature). The 202 is available in six frame colour options and retails for £119.99.
The classic Uvex Crow Pro (£129.99) is now available in two widths, standard and small and with a choice of lenses. Including a new Variomatic (as per the SGL202) and a with a degrade tint (darker at the top than at the bottom) which it’s claimed offers straight on glare protection and a clearer view.
The Sphere (£99.99) follows a similar shape to the SGL202 and shares the same Variomatic lens technology. The curve is more pronounced than the 202 but UVEX have designed the lens to be distortion free throughout even with this deeply curved shape.
This new £89.99 road helmet tips the scales at around 240g, that’s light for a helmet of this price. It follows the design of the FP1, as worn by Mark Cavendish, though the Ultrasonic has a little more substance and material out back. Adjusted with UVEX’s IAS cradle, this not only adjusts horizontally, but also vertically too. The core features an inner cage so in the event of a crash the energy is dispersed throughout the structure and not concentrated in one place.
The updated Uvex XPCC is Germany’s best selling mountain bike lid. With 16 decent sized vents and plenty of rear coverage the XPCC looks to offer plenty of protection, whilst still keeping the weight down to a very impressive 260g.
The i-Vo is Uvex’s new budget road helmet. At £39.99 it still manages to pack in plenty of features. Large vents help keep the weight down for a budget lid. It still features Uvex's dial adjusting IAS cradle, and in moulded shell and removable peak. Meeting all international safety standards is impressive for such a lowly priced lid, and it’s a good looking helmet too.